If it’s new year, it’s time for Resolution!, the Place’s platform for new works by novice choreographers. Artists ranging from Wayne McGregor to Tino Sehgal took their first steps here, but the season itself is something of a bran tub: you just have to dive in and hope to fish out something worthwhile.
Opening night’s opener was Jacob Hobbs’s Hallo Spaceboy, part of a growing genre that’s more performance than dance. Hobbs, indeed, plays this aspect up, telling us to imagine a “big dance number” while he clumps around, a bearlike bloke in a flashing jockstrap, repeatedly gasping for breath and popping pills. Elsewhere, he’s in biker gear or sporting headwear that is part helmet, part hairdryer, and he swears and rants and goes off, he tells us, “for a wank”. This sounds merely crude, but everything is transfigured by the music. Hobbs sings (Nick Cave and David Bowie) with power and subtlety, and he is great with the reverb pedal, filling the stage with shouty echoes of his own voice for his “death scene”, conducted to Bowie’s Rock’n’Roll Suicide. The piece is somewhat hit-and-miss, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
It certainly outclassed the dancier pieces. I am Wolf by Francesca Roche and Tomos Young has a potentially lucid choreographic arc, two fluent dancers loping freely like wild animals and becoming more combative as they are gradually penned in. But portentous backdrops (drought, floods, bombs), arbitrary countdowns and simplistic texts about good and evil lay a heavy hand across the dancing.
scratches the surface of horror rather than chomping into its flesh
Cody Choi’s The Fear Factor is a zombie dance featuring classic horror-film tropes: clawed hands and crazy ambulations, an earsplitting scream, gasping breath, and most obviously, fit young women in hotpants and cut-offs. The women chase and race, fight and flee. There is heart-poundy music, a blood-red screen, a blackout. Despite some strong performances, the piece itself only scratches the surface of horror rather than chomping into its flesh.